Charlie Gard, the baby at the centre of a legal row over his treatment, has died, a family spokesman has confirmed.
In a short statement issued on Friday evening, Ms Yates said:
“Our beautiful little boy has gone, we are so proud of you Charlie.”
The 11-month-old, who suffered from an extremely rare genetic condition causing progressive brain damage and muscle weakness, had been at the centre of a five-month long legal battle between his parents and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, was moved to a hospice following a High Court ruling.
Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, had fought against GOSH and how they wanted to turn Charlie’s life-support off, instead wanting an opportunity to take their son to the US for nucleoside bypass therapy, but specialists at GOSH said the treatment was experimental and that Charlie had irreversible brain damage.
The Gard family’s plight was supported by millions of people – the united Charlie’s Army – around the world, who raised £1.5m to cover the costs involved should Charlie have been allowed to go to America. Judges from the High Court, the European Court and the Supreme Court were all asked to give evidence/testify in the case, and all three parties sided with GOSH, saying the treatment would not benefit the youngster.
The couple dropped their legal battle on Monday after Professor Michio Hirano, the American neurologist who had offered to treat him, examined Charlie and said it was too late for it the treatment his parents wanted to try to work. Several weeks earlier, he had co-signed a letter with other medical experts which suggested unpublished data showed therapy could improve Charlie’s brain condition. They claimed that “ideally” the treatment would first be tested on mice but said that, in Charlie’s case, there was no time for such a trial.
After announcing that they had ended their legal challenge, Connie and Chris delivered the following statement to the waiting media gathered outside the courthouse:
“Mummy and Daddy love you so much Charlie, we always have and we always will and we are so sorry that we couldn’t save you. We had the chance but we weren’t allowed to give you that chance. Sweet dreams baby. Sleep tight our beautiful little boy.”
Today, the Prime Minister Theresa May led the tributes and expressed her condolences in a statement that read:
“I am deeply saddened by the death of Charlie Gard. My thoughts and prayers are with Charlie’s parents Chris and Connie at this difficult time.”
Pope Francis and US Vice-President Mike Pence also tweeted messages of condolence:
I entrust little Charlie to the Father and pray for his parents and all those who loved him.
Just two weeks after finishing up a UK tour, it was announced this evening that Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, 41, had committed suicide.
The first report came from TMZ who wrote that Bennington had hung himself at a private residence in Palos Verdes Estates in California where his body was found earlier today. Chester’s band-mate Mike Shinoda then officially confirmed the report of Bennington’s death, posting this on his official Twitter page:
Shocked and heartbroken, but it's true. An official statement will come out as soon as we have one.
Bennington had been close friends with Chris Cornell who died on May 17th aged 52 and had himself struggled with drug and alcohol issues for many years. Chester shared a heartfelt tribute/goodbye letter, which many now see as an indication of his struggles, to his friend on Twitter and had often spoken in the past about considering suicide due to being abused by an older man. He also spoke powerfully about depression and mental health in what are believed to be his last twointerviews. Cornell’s wife Vicky posted the following message on Twitter upon hearing of her friend’s death:
Just when I thought my heart couldn't break any more…..I love you T
Linkin Park, who only posted the video for their new single this morning, achieved worldwide success thanks notably to their albums Hybrid Theory and Meteora, the latter of which topped the Billboard 200 chart in 2003 and remains one of the biggest alternative albums in history.
News of Bennington’s death immediately saw thousands of social media users – friends, fans and celebrities – take to Facebook and Twitter, flooding both sites with messages expressing their shock and sharing their memories and messages of condolence.
On Facebook, Eva Bayer summed up her thoughts by posting:
“Farewell Chester… Linkin Park will forever be a part of me and was the soundtrack to such an important time in my life.”
18-year-old Arianna Balfe wrote:
“I’m honestly heartbroken to hear about Chester Bennington.. R.I.P. man. Your music helped me through some tough times. It was an honor to get to see you perform a few years back. I’ll still be listening to Linkin Park 10 years from now.”
Summing up the thoughts and reflections of many, Chris Whitby shared this:
“The songs that Chester along with the rest of the band wrote have seen me through the darkest times of my life since I first listened to them as a teenager. Hybrid Theory and Meteora remain two of my favourite albums and I am so glad I got to see Linkin Park perform Hybrid Theory in full at Download 2014. To this day, it was the best live performance I’ve ever seen with everyone in that crowd singing every single word from that album. Very few musicians could switch from soft vocals to a metal growl like he could. Through all of the hardships he faced in his life and that he wrote about in his music, he was a true warrior and one of the reasons he inspired me so much. He was one of the most influential musicians I’ve ever listen to, a unique and inspirational songwriter.”
He later wrote a second post which read:
“Through the death of a father, the death of a best friend, the death of a grandmother, bullying, betrayal, heartbreak, depression, isolation, rejection, failure. I found the strength to face all of this through your music. Finding myself, my individuality and the strength to stand as an individual in this world. My passion for music, making amazing friends who shares the same passion for that music as me. And moments of happiness at gigs and festivals. I found all of this from your music.
Though you may have lost your battle, a battle you fought so hard and bravely for years, your music helps millions of people face the same issues each day and to help them win. You helped me to win my battles. Your music will live on and help millions more win theirs. That is your legacy. Thank you Chester Bennington, you were my Hero, your music is and always will be a major light in my life.”
Green Day front-man Billie Joe posted his own tribute on Instagram, as did Gerard Way and Machine Gun Kelly, who was due to support Linkin Park on their upcoming US tour.
Performer Aaron Lewis dedicated his song “Something To Remind You” to Bennington while playing a show in New Hampshire.
Cameron Strang, chairman and CEO Warner Bros. Records, the label that signed Linkin Park in 1999, released a statement while music magazine Kerrang! created a tribute playlist and new upcoming issue, having scrapped the one they were working on. The statement, playlist and front cover of the new magazine can all be found below:
“Chester Bennington was an artist of extraordinary talent and charisma, and a human being with a huge heart and a caring soul, Our thoughts and prayers are with his beautiful family, his bandmates and his many friends. All of us at WBR join with millions of grieving fans around the world in saying: we love you Chester and you will be forever missed.”
Bennington is survived by wife Talinda Ann Bentley and six children.
Update (21/07/17): Live Nation the promoters for the scheduled upcoming Linkin Park US tour announced that all dates had been cancelled. In a brief statement, they said:
“We are incredibly saddened to hear about the passing of Chester Bennington. The Linkin Park ‘One More Light’ North American Tour has been canceled and refunds are available at point of purchase. Our thoughts go out to all those affected.”
Blink 182, who were due to be a part of the tour as co-headliners for two Blinkin Park shows at New York’s Citi Field and Hersheypark in Pennsylvania, posted this message on their Twitter:
Before performing in Indiana, Limp Bizkit front-man Fred Durst shared his memories of Bennington with Variety, writing:
“I’m sitting here with my brother Cory and we were talking about when Linkin Park played before us on their first ever show in Europe. They came in our dressing rooms and they were clearly both so excited and so shy. [Limp Bizkit guitarist] Wes [Borland], myself and my brother went and watched their show and doused them in champagne after their performance to congratulate them.
I remember seeing them on the side of the stage and as were performing, I was thinking to myself, “Chester’s voice is going to blow these kids the f— up.” It was a great moment and I’m happy now to have had it.
I can say so many wonderful things about the Chester I knew. He had a way of making anyone he spoke to feel heard, understood and significant. His aura and spirit were contagious and empowering. Often those types of people have so much pain and torture inside that the last thing they want is to contaminate or break the spirit of others.
He would go out of his way to make sure you knew he truly cares. As real and transparent as our conversations would be, he was always the one projecting light on the shadows. In my last conversation with him, he was holding his two cute puppies and giving me the most selfless and motivational compliments in regards to Limp Bizkit and myself and thanking me for paving the path for bands like Linkin Park.
In return, I told him if it weren’t for him and his voice and his words, this genre would never have reached the masses and affected so many lives. I thanked him for being so courageous and humble and for always being such a gentleman. We laughed and hugged and told jokes as if there would always be a tomorrow for us to meet again.
I want to hug him now and let him know that we all experience our own pain and deal with it our own ways. I know his torture is unique to him, but I would always be here to listen and help in any way I can. But I won’t get that hug and that moment now, which makes me so sad.”
Update (22/07/17): So strong has the fan reaction been to Bennington’s death that between July 20th and the 21st, streams of Linkin Park albums increased by more than 10,000% in the case of 2003’s Meteora. 2007’s Minutes To Midnight saw an increase of 9,500% while Hybrid Theory, released in 2000, saw a rise of 8,700%. The song “In The End” was on-demand streamed 1.5m times and was the most Shazamed and downloaded track of the 24 hour period. On video platforms, “Numb” was viewed 695,000 times while on both audio and video services, Linkin Park songs were up 469% overall.
Linkin Park today set up a tribute site for their singer, encouraging fans to leave their messages and memories, which features a photo of Bennington onstage, surrounded by the light from thousands of fans’ phones, with the hashtag #RIPCHESTER and the following message:
At a show in New York, Thirty Seconds To Mars frontman Jared Leto spoke fondly of Bennington before performing “Alibi” while Muse dedicated “Starlight” to him.
Update (24/07/17): Former head of Warner Bros. Records Tom Whalley shared his reflections and memories of Bennington with Billboard writing:
“Chester was a great singer in the classic way that great rock singers move the world with their voice. He had a unique ability to bring forth a guttural scream that would project the intent of the song and in the same song flip to a beautiful melody that drove home the song’s purpose. He wanted Linkin Park to change people’s lives. He sucked people in: That’s what I saw in the studio, what I saw live, what I saw when I talked to him about the recording process.
Hybrid Theory was already out when I got to Warner Bros. I inherited it and my job was to galvanize what I walked into. I was there for Meteora with Don Gilmore and the next two albums, which were produced by Rick Rubin. I was just encouraging them to continue to innovate and move their music forward, and to not get hooked on having to repeat the success — that they should just be confident in exploring what their next record should be.
Chester was a very impassioned person. He believed in what he was doing at all times, whether it was a small conversation about being a father or being a good person, but in particular when it was about his songwriting or the records that Linkin Park was making. His belief in the band and the records they were making was always 150 percent. He believed in the spirit of rock and roll and the purpose it had in the fans’ lives.
As the band grew, they never had a sense of entitlement, even after success. Chester still brought his basic instincts, his basic talents, into the room every time. He had no sense of self-importance, that, “I’m a rock star.” He still had his belief of purpose, he never let go of that. It was a pleasure working with the band. They knew how to give back to family and causes. Chester was the guy in front, he was the one that had to expose what their convictions were, what their purpose was as a band. That’s what lead singers were supposed to do. And he did that.”
Ed Winter, a spokesman for the Los Angeles county coroner’s office, confirmed Bennington died by hanging. He added that half a bottle of alcohol was found nearby but there was no sign of drug abuse and no suicide note was found.
At approximately 2.30pm UK time, Linkin Park posted this statement/tribute to Chester on their social media pages.
Update (25/07/17): The first fan-organised memorials to Bennington began taking place around the world, with one in Italy being shared on YouTube:
Update (26/07/17): Linkin Park re-entered the Billboard Artist 100 Chart in the US following Bennington’s death, while their album One More Light re-entered the Billboard 200 chart at number 17, having sold 23,000 units (up 461%).
Update (27/07/17): The All Time Greatest Singers page on Facebook announced that in the wake of Bennington’s suicide, they’d set up a Music Saves Lives campaign to raise awareness for suicide prevention, writing:
“His music has saved countless of lives and will continue to live on in our hearts. We are donating 100% of the proceeds from this campaign to suicide prevention organizations.”
Fans took to Twitter to share images and videos from gatherings and memorials they were holding in memory of Chester.
Update (28/07/17): Mike Shinoda took to Instagram to endorse hundreds of memorials to Chester that have and are scheduled to take place around the world, also providing a link to a Google document where fans could add others, while fans shared images and videos from such events.
Meanwhile, Bennington’s wife Talinda posted this statement:
“One week ago, I lost my soulmate and my children lost their hero — their Daddy. We had a fairytale life and now it has turned into some sick Shakespearean tragedy. How do I move on? How do I pick up my shattered soul? The only answer I know is to raise our babies with every ounce of love I have left. I want to let my community and the fans worldwide know that we feel your love. We feel your loss as well.
My babies are so young to have lost their daddy. And I know that all of you will help keep his memory alive. He was a bright, loving soul with an angel’s voice. And now he is pain free singing his songs in all of our hearts. May God Bless us all and help us turn to one another when we are in pain. Chester would’ve wanted us to do so. Rest In Peace, my love.
Mrs. Talinda Bennington.”
In the UK, Linkin Park songs and albums flooded the charts. Hybrid Theory re-entered the album chart at number 4, while One More Light placed fifth and Meteora reached number seven. Minutes To Midnight re-entered at 15, A Thousand Suns was at 38, Living Things placed 49th, Collision Course – the album with Jay-Z – was at 70, Reanimation was 71st and The Hunting Party was at 91. The bands’ album success meant they became the first US band in 50 years to have 3 albums in the top 10. In the singles chart, “In The End” re-entered at number 14, “Numb” was at 20 and latest track “Heavy” featuring was at 43.
Update (29/07/17): Linkin Park bassist Dave Phoenix Farrell took to Twitter to thank fans for their support and to pay tribute to his friend and band-mate, asking his followers to send him pictures from any memorials or events they were attending.
It goes without saying, this last week has been extremely difficult. The outpouring of love and kindness I've received from friends and (1)
Bennington was laid to rest in a private memorial. Former front-man of Of Mice & Men Austin Carlile and hip-hop artist Blackbear were just two of those in attendance and both took to social media to comment on the day.
Update (30/07/17): Bennington’s first wife Samantha took Facebook to share her thoughts, writing:
“Words can not express the devastating loss that my son & I both, along with the rest of our families are feeling over my ex husband & son’s father’s recent passing. Unreal to stay the least!
I pray from my soul that he is at peace and no longer suffering.
My son & I are extremely spiritual & would like to share our believes with you in hopes it brings a little comfort.
We do not believe there is a hell. We believe that we as souls make “soul contracts” we agree to come into this world with the knowledge of our destiny & when it’s fulfilled we move on to a higher vibration of energy, meaning “the next level”. He fulfilled his destiny while helping others every step of the way through his music, a hand shake,a conversation, or even a hug. No matter if you saw him on stage, had an opportunity to meet him anywhere he truly touched everyone in a positive way. He absolutely loved singing for each & every one of you & for all of his friends & family at home all the time. I have always missed him singing throughout our home & loved it when he would visit, he would sing for us every time we ask or just spontaneously . He absolutely had a God given talent! We are all created the same & connected so Chester you are never “gone”. Our souls & energy are forever connected.
Chester, as one of my best friends of the age of 19, a husband, father to my son, business partner, and all we created together, I’m truly honored to have completed our soul contracts together, build all we did together, & thank you for giving me the greatest gift ever, our beautiful son Draven.
I promise to continue to raise a great man who has integrity, humility, kindness, & most of all compassion & love.
I do feel your presence as a guardian angel watching over us & Im extremely filled with gratitude.
Thank you to Draven’s god parents Uncle Stefie & Moni along with friends & family for joining us in with a raw ruby crystal that we shared a prayer, we all kissed the stone, & prayed to chester to find peace & fill his heart with love. Then our son through it in the ocean as an offering to God/Source.
We also want to thank our family and friend who traveled close & far for their support & continuous love.
We will always love you Chester.
From the bottom of our hearts .. love Sam & Draven Bennington.”
Update (02/08/17): It was revealed today that some of special packages given to those who attended Bennington’s funeral had found their way onto ebay and sellers, claiming the packages are authentic, are wanting thousands of dollars for them. Kerrang!magazine were one of the first to report the disgraceful behaviour and encouraged readers to report the sales if they came across any more.
Update (04/08/17): A Hybrid Theory sing-along took place in Dublin last night with scores of fans and even a representative from Warner Bros Records in attendance while other memorials also took place.
By the end of the day, 11 of Linkin Park’s songs had earned new platinum certifications. “One Step Closer”, “Waiting For The End” and “Leave Out All The Rest” earned their first platinum records, while “What I’ve Done”, “Bleed It Out”, “Shadow Of The Day”, “New Divide”, “In The End”, “Numb”, “Burn It Down” and the Jay-Z collaboration “Numb/Encore” added multi-platinum certifications. Notably, “What I’ve Done”, received a five-times-platinum nod, making it the band’s most commercially successful song.
Update (05/08/17): This morning, Chris Cornell’s 12-year-old daughter Toni joined One Republic on stage as part of the Good Morning America Summer Concert Series, at which Linkin Park were scheduled to perform, to sing “Hallelujah” in tribute to her father and Bennington. The performance has many members of the large crowd in tears:
The band later replied to Talinda’s tweet with this message:
Update (22/08/17): Linkin Park took to Facebook to share the following message with fans:
“Just wanted to say thank you to all our fans around the world for the tremendous outpouring of love, which has strengthened our spirit during this incredibly difficult time.
The five of us are so grateful for all of your support as we heal and build the future of Linkin Park.
We are working on a special public event in Los Angeles to honor Chester’s memory, and look forward to sharing details with you soon.
Peace and love,
Phoenix and Linkin Park”
Update (23/08/17): Warner Bros Records digital marketer Adam Ruehmer took to Twitter to express his appreciation and love of fans around the world who had rallied around one another and the band since Chester’s death:
Update (25/08/17): After reading Cheryl Sandberg’s book Option B, Mike Shinoda took to Twitter to say he was going to borrow a hashtag her husband’s colleagues started after he passed away and encouraged fans to join in:
Update (28/08/17): At last night’s MTV Video Music Awards, Jared Leto paid tribute to Bennington – and Chris Cornell – via the following speech:
Update (16/09/17): As the Linkin Park fan-base continued to share their memories of Chester and raise awareness of suicide and mental health, Bennington’s wife Talinda shared these two posts on Twitter:
My next tweet is the most personal tweet I have ever done. I'm showing this so that you know that depression doesn't have a face or a mood.
Update: (18/09/17): Mike Shinoda was interviewed by LA radio station KROQ and spoke openly about Chester and the band’s latest track “One More Light”, the video for which was supported and shared by the likes of MTV:
One of the more powerful moments was Talinda stepping out in front of the crowd and all those watching around the world to say the following:
“What an incredible show this has been. Chester and I always loved bringing people together and he was filled with joy when our house was full of family, friends, kids, dogs, cats, birds, turtles, the more the merrier. And he would have loved all of this tonight.”
She went on to add:
“…to you Linkin Park’s fans, thank you. Chester always said Linkin Park fans were the best, and you know what, he was absolutely fucking right. In the past fourteen weeks, you have lifted each other up. You have lifted me up. You have lifted our children up. From memorials around the world to supporting everyday as our family on Twitter, and spreading the love with the hashtags, #MakeChesterproud and #fuckdepression.”
As the show unfolded and afterwards, participants, attendees and viewers around the world took to social media to post their thoughts, with those of Linkin Park’s Dave Farrell in particular being especially poignant and heartfelt.
Tonight was one that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The family of artists and fans showing their love for @linkinpark was nothing short of magical, and being a part of it was an honor to say the least. Forever grateful. #MakeChesterProud
Update (05/12/17): US website TMZ leaked details of Bennington’s autopsy, wrongly claiming that the singer had both alcohol and ecstasy in his system when he died. The report was then updated to read that although one blood test tested *presumptive positive” for MDMA, two further tests didn’t and so the final conclusion was that the star wasn’t under the influence of any drug at the time of his death. Both Bennington’s band-mate Mike Shinoda and Chester’s wife Talinda took to Twitter to share their thoughts.
Just clearing this up: TMZ erroneously printed CB had MDMA in his system when he passed. That was incorrect, they misread the report. They have since corrected their piece, see below. I hope other publications have the decency to do the same. pic.twitter.com/MwglKqjsOc
And now I get to go pull my 11 yr old out of school- because all the kids can use their phones at lunch-to be the first to tell him what REALLY happened in Nov. Thanks again to SCUMBAG reporting. FUCK YOU TMZ
As fans rallied round Talinda, she posted a message of thanks and appreciation on her page, calling for an end to salacious and irresponsible journalism.
My family and I thank you all for the outpouring of support about this outright cruel violation of our privacy. As an evolved society, we can’t accept this salicious and irresponsible journalism anymore. https://t.co/SNXAEPE2py
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Dare to dream big
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I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.
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